Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

Building golf holes seems to have a strange fascination for many golfers. While they would not think of taking over the job of their architect, or their physician or their lawyer, or their plumber, yet they would not hesitate to take over the duties of a golf architect, with full confidence in their ability to build quite the finest course that had ever been conceived. CHARLES BANKS



"In 1968, I was watching with my mother when Robert De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified."

I'm not going to sleep as well tonight knowing that Condi Rice is angling not for a job with the PGA Tour, but instead, as a golf writer.

Writing--if you could call it that--for The Daily Beast.

Long before I picked up a golf club four years ago, I watched the Masters every year. In 1968, I was watching with my mother when Robert De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified. Mother was outraged because she thought that the mistake might have been a result of the language barrier.

Still spelling his name wrong, after all these years. Though I doubt he's had much trouble with folks messing up the Roberto part.

Look at the lyrical quality of this passage.

I know Tiger from our Stanford connection. I once sat with him at a Stanford-Duke basketball game. Stanford won on a buzzer-beater, and we stormed the court together. With that kind of bonding, whom else would I pull for? I had decided that if Tiger did not win, I would champion the cause of Phil Mickelson (met him at the White House and he’s a really nice guy); Stewart Cink (met him in Atlanta and he’s a really nice guy); or Anthony Kim (haven’t met him but I like his swagger).


"'Back to the clubhouse. I'm not going to live long enough to figure out that backswing.'"

John Garrity catches up with some of the older former Masters Champions, including '68 winner Bob Goalby and Jackie Burke, making his first visit to Augusta in seven years.

Goalby, for example, shares one about Jackie and another old pro, Miller Barber. "You know Miller?" Goalby arches an eyebrow. "He's got about 14 curlicues in his backswing, and then he sticks the club straight up in the air with no wrist cock. Anyway, he asked Jackie for a lesson. They went out on the range, dumped the balls out. Miller said, 'I'm mixed up on my backswing. Watch me hit some.' So he hit about a dozen balls before Jackie turned and started walking away. Miller's got this squeaky voice. He shouted, 'Jackie! Jackie! Where are you going?' And Jackie said, 'Back to the clubhouse. I'm not going to live long enough to figure out that backswing.'"


"Straub describes the 115,000-square-foot clubhouse as 'a new Breakers.'"

Thanks to Steven T. for Eve Samples story on the proud new owner of Tesoro, the former Ginn property.

Last month, the court approved the sale of Tesoro's assets to Straub's West Coast Investors LLC. He paid $10.99 million for 353 lots, a golf course and another golf course lease, 11 acres of commercial property, a racquet club and a clubhouse.

Straub describes the 115,000-square-foot clubhouse as "a new Breakers."

115,000 square feet? I can't imagine why this place didn't work.


Golf With Comedian Lewis Black At Westchester CC...


"He's kidlike. He likes cartoons."

Wright Thompson files an excellent profile of Gary Player and Danny Lee's IMG-coordinated bond contrasted experiences at last week's Masters. (Shockingly, Lee announced his signing with Cleveland's finest today.) Besides some priceless stuff about the Player "brand," Thompson shares this anecdote about Lee's back nine 47 Friday.

When we left Danny, he was cruising on the eighth hole. On the next hole, the wheels began to fall off, a double-bogey, a little taste of his what's to come. Friday, he starts strong, eagling No. 8, birdieing 9 and then coming to the hole that would be his undoing: 10. He six-putts from about 10 feet. Twice more coming home to an 81, he double-bogeys, unraveling on national TV. "Now he's just spooked," IMG's Kevin Lynch says after the second double-bogey.

A 6-putt?

More disturbing is the IMG presence all week in Lee's life talking about "Danny Lee Inc." and this...

For now, in the last days of one life, it's hard to get him to focus on serious business discussions; he's more likely to slip out of the room to play video games.

"He's kidlike," Yim says. "He likes cartoons."


"Golf journalism creates a rich historical record about this game we love. May the craft long outlive these troubling times."

Paul Rogers in the latest SI Golf Plus pens this My Shot farewell to Travel and Leisure Golf.

As story lengths were shrinking and features were being replaced by cheaper, easier-to-produce Q&A's throughout the industry, the magazine remained a haven for the artful writer. Readers so inclined could savor the well-crafted sentence and the lengthy narratives on offbeat subjects (gimme putts, America's fiercest club championship, the enduring mystery of Young Tom Morris's death). The contributors ranged from the established to the aspiring, from a best-selling novelist like Chang-rae Lee to freelancers whose bylines appeared mainly in local papers or regional monthlies.


Behind The Scenes At Sikeston CC's Board Meeting

Thanks to Dave who forwarded this insider's view of a board meeting at Missouri's Sikeston Country Club. The sensitive subject of tree removal is in play. I think it is safe to say that anyone who has spent time on a club committee will relate to this. The video is also a fine introduction to


First Masters Question: Is Augusta Live Undermining CBS's Credibility?

In reading reviews of the CBS coverage, most focus seems to be on the announcing and how they followed the Tiger-Phil drama. Bradley Klein charted these numbers:

The first commercial break didn’t come until 66 minutes into the telecast, and all told, by my count, we saw only 20 minutes of ads. That left time for golf, 378 shots in all shown live or “a moment ago.” Those shots comprised 57 drives; 96 full approaches into greens; six pitch-outs; 35 chips, recoveries or sand shots; 52 long putts, 83 short putts and 49 tap-ins. As for the common argument that we see too much putting, the evidence shows that 49 percent of all shots shown took place on the green.

Michael Hiestand in the USA Today really doesn't say much at all, but I thought I'd link it anyway. Kind of following in that Rudy Martzke tradition, isn't he? 

Chris Zelkovich picks on some of the sappier CBS comments in entertaining fashion. Don't worry, PK, he doesn't mention you!

Unmentioned in these reviews is the impact of Augusta Live, the amazing online bonus coverage that DirectTV subscribers also had access too.

On the live blogs here, we were consistently astonished just how few live shots CBS shows in comparison to what we were seeing in the online coverage of Amen Corner and the 15th/16h holes. Our friends watching BBC reported comments from post round interviews we never would have gotten and several other observations based on seeing actual golf shots instead of pre-packaged material.

For instance, we live blog participants knew all about Anthony Kim's historic round Friday as well as Rory McIlroy's disastrous finish and his ruling controversy, all thanks to Augusta Live or tips from viewers overseas. Yet for CBS, it was if they had a set script and no golf was going to get in the way.

Also disastrous was the 12th hole sequence Sunday. Every year the 12th tee caddy-player discussions provide us with the ultimate pressure moment. When Phil and Tiger arrived there, Ian Baker Finch and Nick Faldo talked over way too much of the club selection discussions. Now, I admire both as announcers and Faldo was particularly strong last week. So part of me wonders if they are told to talk viewers through things because there are so many non-golfers watching.

But I couldn't help noticing that Ian Eagle and Matt Gogel, announcing on Amen Corner Live coverage, went silent as Tiger-Stevie/Phil-Bones made the all-important 12th tee decision. (In hindsight, I should have muted my CBS feed.)

So my question: Is Augusta Live undermining CBS's credibility by exposing just how few live shots we see and golf shots period? Or is this merely the future of the broadcasting the Masters, where a network feed is an excessively-produced, almost documentary-style telecast for the masses while we viewers at home select feeds we want to watch, ala Augusta Live?


"Does Mickelson's reaction in the wake of Sunday's disappointment indicate nothing other than a sense of perspective and sportsmanship?"

Lawrence Donegan raises several interesting points about Tiger and Phil's post-round behavior Sunday, noting Phil's amazing (borderline shocking) disposition after having such a great chance of winning. But he mostly focuses on Tiger's crankiness. The entire piece is worth your time, it just so happens this caught my eye:

The contrast between Mickelson's ­apparent insouciance and Woods' evident anger was open to multiple interpretations. It was ever thus and this latest episode left those who believe the world No 1 is infallible to argue that he was angry only because he cares so much.

By extension all conduct is seemingly acceptable, be it the constant cursing and club throwing – in which Woods has become the world-leader since his return from injury – or the childish behaviour he adopted before Sunday's final round, cold-shouldering Mickelson in an apparent ­attempt to make him feel uncomfortable.


"I will no longer criticize the World Golf Rankings because Japan's Shingo Katayama mysteriously stays in the top 50 while seeming to do very little."

I'm not sure if I can fully vindicate the Official World Golf Ranking the way Gary Van Sickle is prepared to, but he does have a point here...

I will no longer criticize the World Golf Rankings because Japan's Shingo Katayama mysteriously stays in the top 50 while seeming to do very little. At the Masters, he finished ahead of Tiger, Phil and Padraig. He finished in front of everyone, in fact, except the Titanic Three. I was impressed with his gutty back nine, and I liked his theatrics. Just one thing — the Village People called, and they want their hat back.


2009 Masters Ratings Take Expected Easter Sunday Hit

But 42 million people tuned in at some point over the weekend, which isn't bad.


Sergio Garcia's Agent Really Sorry His Client Talked To Golf Channel

Oliver Brown reports on Sergio's heartfelt apology for saying not-so-nice-things about Augusta National. I'm thinking it's so much from the heart that his agent may have even read this to him over the phone before sending it out!

"Following my final round at the Masters, I made comments in an interview that I regret and want to apologise for," he said.

"Out of frustration, I blamed the golf course instead of putting the blame where it belongs, on myself.

“I didn’t get it done this week. Augusta National is one of the most iconic golf courses in the game and playing in the Masters each year is an honour. I apologise to the members of Augusta National and the fans who rightfully treasure this golf course.”

Sporting News has posted the video along with comments from Sergio's good pal Padraig Harrington refuting the point.

I can just see it now.

The Golf Channel producer trying to flag down Paddy for an interview as he's heading to the locker room and Paddy waving it off until the person says, "but we have Sergio on tape ripping Augusta National and in general acting like his wonderful self."

Paddy: "Oh, where would you like me? Is this a good backdrop for you? I'll wait while you do the white balance. What? You don't have to do that anymore? Well I'll wait anyway. Take as long as you want."


"Really, the break with ADT offers a telling microcosm for us to judge Bivens' larger approach."

I just got around to reading Jon Show's SBJ story revealing that the LPGA Tour and Commish Bivens have given up on trying to secure network coverage for next year, which would also mean that the break up decision with ADT to usher in a 2010 season opening swing is looking more disastrous by the day, even without mentioning Stanford Financial.

Check out what Randell Mell wrote back when the ADT news broke and the future grand plan was leaked:

Really, the break with ADT offers a telling microcosm for us to judge Bivens' larger approach.

Tour pros ought to scrutinize what's happening to this event very closely to see if the changes are really for the better or if something special's being damaged.

Bivens' remaking of this season-ending event and the break with ADT will tell us so much about the wisdom of her overall plan.

If she unveils a future to this championship that sounds convincingly better than the eight-year run ADT gave us, players should be encouraged. If she doesn't, they ought to be worried, and they ought to be asking hard questions of their commissioner. This has been a terrific event with a wonderful run. Players are sure to measure future events against it.


"I'm stupid. I hope Phil wins. That was dumb. Why did I do that?"

Did anyone notice this incident where the drunk fan made a scene Sunday with Phil Mickelson on 17?

According to The Augusta Chronicle, Masters security sought to confiscate the grounds badge of Steven T. Davis, 34, of Salt Lake City, but he said the badge fell off when he was in the bunker.

"I apologize," Davis said as he was taken away, likely to the Richmond County jail to face a disorderly conduct charge, according to the newspaper. "I'm stupid. I hope Phil wins. That was dumb. Why did I do that?"

Seems to me the explanation is pretty simple. He's from Salt Lake and he was just really happy to get a drink.


2009 Masters Final Round Clippings

Our dwindling press core summoned their finest insights and bold reactions to Sunday's Masters play. So sit back, prepare to click (remember, right to open in a new tab!) and enjoy a strong media performance. Of course it didn't hurt that there were great stories to tell.

We have all week for the traditional golf course and overall tournament post op, but if you followed the live blog you know we'll be talking about CBS, the extraordinary, the golf course setup twist (soft greens save the day!?), the architectural issues remaining (the list is getting shorter!) and the cruelty of ending the Masters in a sudden death playoff.

Alrighty, position those mouse pads and click away.

Larry Dorman in the New York Times:

When it comes to sudden changes, head-spinning and gut-wrenching ones, there is once again no place like Augusta National on a Sunday. The first three-man sudden-death playoff in 22 years at the Masters followed a daylong rush of adrenaline-charged roars that cascaded like Niagara Falls across the greensward.

Doug Ferguson for AP:

The Masters delivered the show everyone wanted and a champion no one expected.

From La Nacion:

Angel Cabrera volvió a hacer historia. Escribió otra página llena de gloria para el golf argentino. El cordobés se coronó campeón del Masters de Augusta, y puede sentir ese orgullo de saberse el primer argentino que se prueba el saco verde, un logro que el mismísimo Roberto De Vicenzo no pudo conseguir pese a haber estado a un paso hacerlo.


Lawrence Donegan filing for The Guardian:

Dreams can come true and they did yesterday at Augusta National: for the Masters, for those seeking an ultimate expression of golf's greatest rivalry and, finally, for Angel Cabrera who took the prized Green Jacket to add to the US Open trophy he won two years ago.

Mark Lamport-Stokes writing for Reuters:

Argentina's Angel Cabrera won his second major after a nerve-jangling playoff victory at the U.S. Masters on Sunday, becoming the first South American to claim the prized Green Jacket.

And because he's just that talented, Lamport-Stokes again:

El golfista argentino Angel Cabrera se adjudicó su segundo título en torneos "major" al ganar el domingo el Masters de Augusta en un vibrante desempate.

Back to the King's English, Mark Reason for the Telegraph:

Angel Cabrera of Argentina won the Masters but Kenny Perry lost it on one of the most dramatic afternoons in Augusta history.

Steve Elling for

It was Easter Sunday. His name is Angel.

Sappy, yes, but when otherworldly and inexplicable things happen, rational and linear-thinking folks tend to scratch their heads and question the deities about how good fortune sometimes leads to fame.

And Kevin Eason for The Times:

All eyes had been on the two top names in golf and a man bidding to become the oldest winner of a major title, but Ángel Cabrera emerged from one of the most thrilling climaxes in the history of Augusta to become the Masters champion last night.

Since there weren't too many stories on the champ, let's thank reader Tim for saving us the time looking for Alan Shipnuck and Luis Fernando Llosa's outstanding 2007 SI profile of Cabrera.

And while we're at it, Jaime Diaz's August 2007 profile for Golf Digest, too. Here's Angel's official website.


I don't know if it's a language barrier deal but the Kenny Perry stories were in greater abundance and passionately portrayed.

Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian:

At the protracted end of the most extra­ordinary Masters since Tiger Woods gate-crashed Augusta 12 years ago, and very nearly echoing Jack Nicklaus's win aged 46 here in 1986, Kenny Perry dragged his stiff old bones around the famous course in pursuit of a victory to defy the odds, the years, the lengthening shadows and all reasonable aesthetics.

Gary Van Sickle for

It wasn't just the Masters on the line this week for Perry. It was validation for a long and productive career, the realization of a dream. Because the American dream is Kenny Perry. Small-town kid makes good, rags to riches, Horatio Alger — all in one. It's the dream that promises anything is possible if you work hard, try hard, and are tough enough. Or as late NCAA basketball coach Jim Valvano commanded, "Don't give up, don't ever give up."

Thomas Bonk at

Perry said his mother has cancer. He said there is more to his life than losing a major, in a playoff, no matter how it happens. He refused to second-guess himself about not holding on to a lead.

"I'm not going there. I'm not going pity-person on me. All I know is all the big stars make it happen. They are where they are and we're down here.

"I just hope somewhere I can get back there again."

AP's Jim Litke writes:

A golfer doesn't scuffle when he's young just to make the tour, struggle to hold his place throughout the middle of his career and then, at an age when most pros begin mapping out plans for the senior circuit, suddenly discover there's magic in those thick, calloused hands. Perry did.

Bob Harig writing for

A golfer doesn't scuffle when he's young just to make the tour, struggle to hold his place throughout the middle of his career and then, at an age when most pros begin mapping out plans for the senior circuit, suddenly discover there's magic in those thick, calloused hands. Perry did.

Perry then stopped himself, realizing there are worse things than losing a golf tournament. His mom, Mildred, has cancer. His dad, Ken, is 85 years old, Kenny's biggest fan and supporter, and trying to look after his wife.

His kids, Lesslye, 24, Justin, 23 and Lindsey, 20, were all here, devastated, speechless.
"I got a lot of people hurting right now," Perry said.

No doubt.

And finally, Steve Elling writes:

Time stands still for no man, major winner or runner-up. And the most painful part of the equation is this: What if Perry never again contends on such a grand stage?

Ask anybody over age 50. After a certain point, the memories are all you have. This one's going to sting forever.


Nancy Armour on Chad Campbell, runner up:

He came out of the scorer’s shed with a determined look on his face, nodding yes when someone asked if he was ready to go. While Perry and Cabrera signed their cards, he and his caddie headed to the 18th tee for the first playoff hole.

Cabrera’s tee shot sailed into the trees on the right side, landing squarely behind a tree. Perry and Campbell’s drives, meanwhile, sat in the middle of the fairway.

“I was pretty excited to hit the fairway,” Campbell said. “I haven’t hit the fairway there all week, I think.”


Tiger And Phil
A vast and entertaining spectrum of takes on Phil and Tiger, Tiger and Phil.

Tim Dahlberg writing for AP:

The record will reflect that Angel Cabrera won this Masters and the coveted green jacket that goes along with it. But anyone watching will tell you that Tiger and Phil stole the show.

The fans who streamed out of Augusta National by the hundreds even as the leaders played the back nine certainly thought so. They could have stuck around for what eventually became the first three-way playoff in 22 years, but there didn’t seem much point after the thrills Woods and Mickelson provided.

Gene Wojciechowski at

The early evening and the Masters championship belongs to Cabrera -- no small thing -- but the day, the 75-deep galleries, the loudest roars belonged to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. And for a moment there, when the two of them were just a single stroke out of the lead heading into the 17th hole, this 2009 Masters was almost theirs, too.

"I would say it was the most fun I've ever had on a golf course caddying," said Jim Mackay, who has carried Mickelson's bag for years.

"A couple of shots could have changed the whole world," said Steve Loy, Mickelson's agent.

Cabrera, who won a U.S. Open in 2007 at Oakmont, gets the big paycheck and the sterling replica Masters trophy. But Woods and Mickelson are the two guys who gave this tournament and this Sunday an adrenaline rush. My ears still hurt.

Cameron Morfit on the first tee scene for Tiger and Phil.

You would have thought it was 1997, to judge by the scene as players, caddies, coaches and hangers-on arrived for the final round. Kultida Woods, dressed entirely in red, including a visor the size of a lampshade, strode up in the middle of a red-shirted, Nike-swooshed Tiger posse.

"Hi, Fluff," she said to caddie Mike Cowan, Tiger's former bag man whose marshmallow mustache matched his white coveralls. "Good luck, today."

"Hi, Ma Woods," Cowan said back as he rubbed a towel over Jim Furyk's grips.

Bill Pennington with this on the first tee handshake:

The handshake that followed was frosty and perfunctory, like something two unfriendly neighbors might exchange at church with the pastor watching.

Bill Elliott in The Guardian:

Phil spends hours signing autographs, Tiger avoids as many as he can. Phil talks to everyone and then retreats to his den to watch his bank of TVs and bet on several sports at the same time while Tiger says he loves scuba diving "because no one tries to talk to me down there". Different? If they were any more different these blokes would be playing tours on separate planets.

Melanie Hauser looks at what could have been for Mickelson and talks to wife Amy:

Augusta seems to feed Mickelson’s soul the way it always has with Ben Crenshaw. There’s a spiritual component, a deep-down-in-his-heart reverence for the course that Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie built. For the clubhouse. For the first major of the year.

“He comes here and it’s almost like a religious experience," she said. “He’ll go putt alone. Even in the dark sometimes."

David Dusek on trying to follow Tiger and Phil:

No one had the clout to simply walk up and get a good look at the action from up close. Not even Tida Woods, Tiger's mother, who was walking with Nike's Phil Knight, could get close.
As she crossed a fairway, a fan carrying two empty beer cups said to his friends, "Hey, there's Tiger's mom! She's like Mary Magdalene or something."

T.J. Auclair files an excellent blow-by-blow account of the Tiger-Phil day.

Lorne Rubenstein says even "the game's best players aren't immune to errors at the most critical times."

Jay Busbee isn't so kind, asking if Tiger and Phil choked while Matthew DeBord at Huffington Post wants everyone to get along:

One of these days, Woods and Mickelson are going to need to recognize that, like Palmer and Nicklaus, they are forever joined, even if Tiger will have the grander career. They are both very, very good, and they gave us a fantastic show. It would have been nice to witness them acknowledge it, to each other. No, more than nice. Historic. Competition is all well and good, but sportsmanship lasts longer.

It's so much better when they can't stand each other. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Then again, wouldn't it be fun if they designed a course some day like The King and The Bear? That'd probably get held up in the negotiations. Loy: Phil wants to land his plane first. Steiny: Nope, Tiger always lands first, sorry.

Young Guns
Melanie Hauser on how far John Merrick has come.

John Merrick remembers laying down beside the 18th green here in 2004.

The UCLA senior was exhausted -- from a college event the weekend before and, well, a long night. So he plopped down.

The next thing he knew, someone in a green jacket was standing over him. “Son,’’ he said, “you can’t be laying down.’’

Merrick chuckled. He’s come a long way.

Paul Newberry on Shingo Katayama's fourth place showing.

Still, he equaled Toshi Izawa’s fourth-place finish at the 2001 Masters. No Japanese golfer has ever finished higher than Isao Aoki, runner-up to Jack Nicklaus at the U.S. Open in 1980.

With Katayama and 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, who failed to make the cut in his first Masters but gained valuable experience, the future certainly looks bright.

“I’m hoping that Japanese golf,” Katayama said, “will be coming forward in the world.”

An unbylined Scottish Herald piece on Rory McIlroy's final round 70 and his joke: "Not to dance in the bunker."

I'm not sure I'd call this dancing, but I sure would call it a penalty.

Old Geezers
Sandy Lyle, quoted in the Scottish Herald:

"It was disappointing not to make par up the last but at least I finished ahead of the current Open champion."

I guess when you aren't the Ryder Cup Captain, you can say things like that.

Larry Mize in his online diary for

This was a great day and a great week for me, but the most exciting thing, I think, for the course and the Tournament was that the roars were back, kind of like the old days.

Augusta Is Back
Dave Kindred for

Before the choke part, the wonder of this Masters was pretty much what Bobby Jones had in mind. This was the Augusta National we love. We've had enough of those forced marches over broken glass, everyone bleeding. Boring bogeys are for the sadists who run the U.S. Open. At the Masters, the idea is that great shots can transform a golf tournament into a thrill ride. And even better, there comes the time, with immortality there for the taking, when a man's right hand suddenly gets a mind of its own. Poor Kenny Perry testifies to that.

Rich Lerner with his Hooks and Cuts, includes several great observations.

Billy Payne’s greatest achievement previously was bringing the Olympic Games to Atlanta. It may now well be bringing the Masters back in all its glory. With help from Mother Nature. And from Tiger, Phil, Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell and Cabrera.

Leonard Shapiro writing for CBSSports:

Augusta National prides itself on giving its "patrons" the best possible experience, but if you watched this heavyweight battle at home, you had the best seat in any house. And yet, just the sonic-boom sound of those roars when Mickelson and Woods began making birdies in bunches had to be worth the price of admission for anyone in those teeming crowds struggling to see a putt here, a drive there.

Michael Bamberger, partaking in this week's SI Golf group serial novel, is right to compliment Fred Ridley and his team for a masterful week setting up the course.

It was a great Masters, but you have to give a big nod to Fred Ridley, the former USGA president and Augusta National member who sets up the course. A course like Augusta National is an artwork, and if you're just a little heavy with blue — the wrong tee positions, the wrong hole locations, the wrong Thursday-Friday pairings — the whole thing can sink. They got everything right this year, and the weather helped, but it was not anything like the greatest Masters. To rise to that level you have to have players doing triumphant things down the stretch, not missing fairways and greens and flubbing chips.

That last part Michael is referring to would be Hootie and Tom Fazio's gift to the game, by no means Ridley and his team's fault. They merely tailored the setup to the pallet and did it beautifully.

Da Medja
Dick Friedman thought CBS had a great day and while I thought the presentation by the camera and sound teams was in fine form (love those owl shots!) and Nick Faldo really shined with top notch insights, other announcers talked over essential conversations. The incredible video streams are easily the golf viewing highlight of the year now and totally outshined the network coverage by exposing just how many shots were on tape. Amen Corner Live's Ian Eagle and Matt Gogel had a great week and were silent at just the right times.

Damon Hack hopes to improve on his 112 last time he was drawn in the media lottery.

The reporter in John Garrity got the best of him as a shootout broke out Sunday, and he teases about an interesting story he's working on.

Odds and Ends's excellent daily summary notes that the 15th played easiest Sunday, but only gave up 2 eagles.

Here's a Masters Playoff summary. Hopefully they are listing the last ever Sudden Death playoff.

ESPN posts the Green Jacket ceremony here where you can see man pink faced guys try to follow Angel Cabrera's acceptance speech. Good stuff!

The final scores and purse breakdown.

Round 4 course stats.

Cumulative course stats. The scoring average this week: 72.6062

Greens in Regulation

Driving Distance

Putting Leaders

Press Room Interviews: Chad Campbell Kenny Perry Angel Cabrera


And finally, there's only one place to go for images. The Augusta Chronicle's Angel Cabrera gallery, their Kenny Perry images, their Tiger-Phil shots, their round four collection and their photos from the playoff.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in for the Live Blogs. We had our most spirited group yet on Sunday and I learned a lot.

Another memorable Masters is in the can.


"I don't care they can do whatever they want. I just come her and play and then go home."

Following Sergio Garcia's Masters final round 74, a Golf Channel reporter or producer stuck a microphone in front of the 29-year-old reigning Players PLAYERS champion, who blasted Augusta National and the Masters.

"I don't like it to tell you the truth. I don't think it's fair. It's too tricky. It's too much of a guessing game."


"I don't care, they can do whatever they want. I just come here and play and then go home.

Kraig Kann moderated an ensuing discussion session that epitomized the stellar--dare I say--breakout week for analysts Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and Dottie Pepper. (Ben Crenshaw was great in his cameo's, John Feinstein bordered on insufferable and Jim Gray indecipherable. Lerner and Sands were in top form as they always are at the majors, while Rosaforte, Hawkins, Micelli and Hoggard covered a nice variety of angles.)

But back to the big three analysts who can be seen in this "final thoughts" video on TGC. Half the time Nobilo made me turn to the TV with a "what the &%^$" scowl, only to have Chamblee give him the old, "uh no Frank."

Which is precisely why it made for such great viewing. 

On the disastrous Sergio moment, Nobilo equated it with Bobby Jones' temper tantrum during his first round at the Old Course and that over time, Sergio may learn to love the place.

Brandel countered quickly that Bobby Jones was 21, Sergio's 29, and "by now he should have matured." Chamblee observed that the "chip on Sergio's shoulder" combined with the New York galleries that taunted him last time will "come to haunt him at Bethpage."

Dottie chimed in with a shrewd observation about Sergio needing to make an effort to visit Augusta at a non-tournament time to better acquaint himself with the course and club.

Back at the studio, Vince Cellini piled on, noting Sergio's "darkness" and "petulance after these major performances."

Kelly Tilghman reminded us of the 2004 Masters 66 spat and the 2007 Open pouting and suggested that "obviously he is struggling with some demons."

To cap it all off, Alex Micelli was brought in and asked about Sergio: "I have two teenage daughters at home and they would deal with this a lot better than the way the petulant, childish Sergio Garcia does."

This isn't your father's Golf Channel!

Just a great week for Golf Channel, headquartered at nearby Augusta CC. Chamblee was particularly strong in dissecting what's wrong with the golf course and stuck to his bold opinions (by TGC and ANGC standards) that the rough and new trees need to go while the ridiculous depth of the bunkers is diminishing some of the risk-reward temptation essential to holes like 1, 5 and 8.

But the entire crew shined and kudos to Golf Channel for spending the money to give hardcore golfers the Masters coverage they deserve.


2009 Masters Final Round Live Blog 


The Green Light Is On...

Steve Elling talks to Bones Mackay and Rocco Mediate about Sunday's hole location sheet and they say all of the accessible holes locations, plus a new one on 6 and a surprise on 17 should set up a scoring opportunity.


Sunday Masters Clippings: Cheer Up Lads!

I sit down for an exciting Saturday night of reading and my beloved scribblers turn out to be all cranky. They get a Tiger-Phil pairing and instead of celebrating, it seems most of them think this thing is over.

It's as if they think it's over because--smooching up stories notwithstanding--they still don't think the course is susceptible to the back nine charge. I can't imagine why anyone would think that. Just because 10-11-12 are the three toughest holes scoring-average wise, the 15th yielded one eagle Sunday and a heroic Tiger chip-out from the Christmas trees, and then there's that super wide 17th!

Anyway, I, being more positive, am holding out hope for a thrilling finish Sunday. We certainly have more people in contention.

Let's get the dirty details out of the way. Here's your Leaderboard and Pairings Groupings. lists all of the past winners on Easter Sunday, not that it means a thing.'s team puts together a nice digest of notes and bits about how the course played.

Nancy Armour files notes on Steve Stricker, unhappy Ian Poulter after a 68, Chad Campbell's club selection decision on 16 and great news on the ESPN ratings front (because I was worried they might not survive without a good number this week).

Okay, now to the coverage.

Lede Watch

James Corrigan in the Independent:

They might be a lowly triumvirate in terms of profile outside of their sport, but Angel Cabrera, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell have lit up this golfing heaven this week. It is certainly hard to envisage anyone else donning green in the Butler Cabin this evening.

Doug Ferguson, not so grumpy, for AP:

Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry have proven they can handle the pressure on golf's biggest stage. Next up is Sunday at Augusta National, a test unlike any other they have faced.

Oliver Brown in the Telegraph:

Angel Cabrera goes by the nickname 'El Pato’, the duck, but there was nothing remotely waddling about the Argentinian’s third-round performance at Augusta on Saturday as he surged into a share of the lead in the US Masters on 11 under par, alongside American Kenny Perry.

Thomas Bonk for

There will be no Paddy Slam. Tiger's number is 14 and holding. Phil's closet is stuck on two green jackets.

You might as well get used to it.

Mark Lamport Stokes is more positive in his Reuters piece:

Almost 13 years after squandering a chance to clinch his first major title, American Kenny Perry has the opportunity to become the oldest winner of a grand slam crown at the U.S. Masters.

Larry Dorman in the New York Times:

This was supposed to be the year the Masters went hip, celebrated youth and turned over the keys to Augusta National Golf Club to the plugged-in generation. But Saturday, on a sunny, breezy day, the older fellows decided to show the teenagers and 20-somethings just how the game was played.

David Walsh in The Times is having a hard time envisioning a winner outside of the final two groups.

Given the way the course has played and how Cabrera and Perry have handled themselves through 54 holes, it is barely conceivable that they could both be overtaken by Woods or Mickelson and, beyond Campbell and Furyk, it is difficult to see a winner other than the two leaders.

John Huggan sounds slightly optimistic:

The plan was to reproduce the loud and lustrous back nine birdies, eagles and roars that once captivated spectators around the world. The plan was to forget what has recently been.

And this Masters, the 73rd, has, broadly speaking, achieved all of the above. So far at least. But what wasn't anticipated was a dollop of irony. While the men atop the leaderboard after 54 holes are all fine golfers, none is the most charismatic character amongst the game's elite. For "interesting" read "introverted".


The Final Four

Jay Busbee with this fun fact sheet on the three men at the top.

Eric Soderstrom says it's a battle of "unassuming men." Is that a euphemism for boring?

Bob Harig is more diplomatic and focuses on experience angle.

Steve Elling mines all sorts of great details about Kenny Perry's days when he was washing carts and struggling, talking to Sandy Perry and in general making him a lot more likeable. (And making it hard to imagine this is the same guy who complained about having to play the Tour Championship last year).

The Prick Pairing

You know I'm with Rosaforte and Micelli who both said on their Golf Channel spots that this whole Stevie-I-hate-the-prick thing is overblown and has been put behind by all involved. Of course, of course, BUT...just in case you want to relive the drama...

Here's where Stevie made stuff up and in general came across as a, well, prick. Here's where he tried to spin things and only made matters worse. Here's Phil's hilarious comeback that assured Bones he'll be gainfully employed for some time. And here's Tiger trying to put the little spat to rest. Memories...

The scribblers focused more on the notion that drama aside, Phil and Tiger don't have much chance to catch the hounds unassuming men they are chasing.

Jim Litke writing for AP:

What it could have been: golf’s “Rumble in the Jungle.”

What it’s going to be: “Disgusta at Augusta.”

The clash of the titans that everybody in the sport was dying to see—Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson in the final round of the Masters—has already been relegated to the undercard.

AP's Tim Dahlberg declares Tiger's chances dead on arrival:

So spend a little extra time at church. Take the kids out to hunt for some eggs. Put a glaze on the ham.

Anyone of a handful of players could end up with the green jacket sometime early Sunday evening, but this much is sure.

Tiger Woods is done.

Jeff Babineau invokes religion for Easter Sunday.

A prayer. That’s about what Woods’ chances appear to be after another ho-hum, lackluster lap around The National on Saturday, something that has become more the norm than the exception. Make no mistake, Woods fought to the very end, making three birdies in his final six holes to post a respectable number (2-under 70). But he’s a long, long way from home.

Rich Lerner did some unscientific research Saturday and found people bored by the leaders and he doesn't sense that the course will allow for Tiger or Phil to make a run.

The hope at the start of the week was for a retro Masters with second nine Sunday roars. Pat Summerall’s doing voiceovers, the piano music’s still soothing, the course still green but the giant swings in momentum are missing.

Rex Hoggard on past Tiger-Phil pairing results:

Sunday will mark the 22nd time the two have been paired together in a Tour event and the first time at a major since the 2001 Masters. And, for the record, Woods has posted a better round than Mickelson 15 out of those 22 head-to-heads, including that 2001 run at Augusta National. charts the past pairings.

Kevin Garside writes off Tiger's chances Sunday.

Augusta National is simply too big a test for a golfer playing only his fourth competitive tournament since having a knee rebuilt. There is a reason they don’t play major championships at Bay Hill, scene of Woods’ first tour victory into his comeback a fortnight ago.

Off the tee Woods was all over the place here. A wayward drive on the first led to a double bogey start. Another at the second had him down on his knee. No blame attaches to his iron into the short par 6. The irons were his saviour on Saturday, apart from this one, which was too good, splicing the flag stick like an arrow issued by Robin Hood.

Michael Bamberger details the infirmary situation at the Mickelson household (ouch Amanda, poor thing!) that probably didn't help Phil's play in Houston, and says he believes Phil about his chances for a dramatic comeback Sunday.

It'd be a fantasy, of the Ben-Crenshaw-at-Brookline variety, to think that the winner could come out of the seventh-to-last group. But what makes it semi-feasible is that Augusta National has not been this conducive to scoring in years. There seems to be more grass, which is allowing for more aggressive chip shots. Because of the storm that passed through Augusta as Friday turned into Saturday, the greens were soft and receptive.

Paddy Slam, RIP

Mark Reason details the second hole 9 that cost Paddy Harrington a chance at three straight majors.

The Irish Times' Paul Gallagher reports on the Irish trio's tough day Saturday including...

Rory Ruling, Not Quite RIP

Interesting new details emerged on Friday's Rory ruling, including an explanation for the excruciating length of time between incident and resolution. Part of it is Rory's fault. Sounds like Fred Ridley is too patient and forgiving.

Nancy Armour of AP shares this:

His phone rang at 6:30 p.m. EDT, and Fred Ridley, chair of the competition committees at Augusta National asked what he’d done on 18.

“I said, ‘I played my bunker shot, didn’t get it out of the bunker. Played my next shot over the green and three-putted for a seven,’ ” McIlroy said.

Ridley told McIlroy they were looking at his bunker shots, and asked if he wanted to return to the club to review the tape. McIlroy said no thanks, confident he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Almost two hours later, Ridley called back and told McIlroy it was in his best interest to look at the tape. At issue was whether McIlroy kicked the sand or swiped it; it looked like a kick because some sand flew up.

Mark Reason talks to a few folks who say McIlroy got away with a violation even if the rule in question is peculiar and also raises questions about the club's sense of urgency.

Peter McEvoy, the captain of the winning Walker Cup teams in 1999 and 2001, said: “Was Rory McIlroy guilty? The spirit of the rules say no, the letter of the law says yes. I would have done the same as the Augusta Committee. But I am very surprised that they did find no violation of the rules. I thought they would disqualify him.”

The Masters hierarchy had been informed of the incident, but an hour after they knew about it a rules official had still not been summoned. The rules officials only found out when a member of the press called one of them. Why hadn’t they been called earlier?

James Corrigan says it's time for a rule change.

Only the BBC showed replays and they were just about inconclusive enough to take McIlroy's word for it. Whether sand can fly into the air, as it did, while being smoothed is a moot point. The rule-makers need to apply hasty clarification. It would be a shame if McIlroy's image as the most refreshing golfer to hit the game in many a year was in any way compromised.

Billy Payne, Our Resurrecting Lord Of Augusta As It Should Be

Lawrence Donegan says Billy Payne has delivered on starting to undo the reign of Hootie Johnson in many areas, including the golf course.

Those who do take an interest in architecture and who have long considered Augusta to be the most strategically brilliant layout in the world (outside of St Andrews, at least) know that the responsibility for "crime" lies largely with Johnson, who sanctioned a series of changes to the course around the start of the decade that undermined its elemental genius.

Holes were lengthened, trees planted, rough grown. Thinking golf was replaced by mindless golf. Where once players had multiple options, they now had one: middle of fairway, middle of green, hope for a single putt and for God's sake don't take any risks. Therein lay the road to public indifference, and the Masters was halfway there.

Fortunately, Payne appears to have recognised the problem and he is nimble enough to do something about it.



The SI team's lovely photos from Saturday.

And as always, the Augusta Chronicle's extensive gallery is here.

They left John Daly alone Saturday and focused on golf. But for fun, Marty Hackel takes us behind the scenes at the BBC booth.


Okay see you Sunday at around 11:15 for the live blog and what could be a very exciting day.


Okay, Sunday Predictions And Other Thoughts

I like Cabrera to win. I like Stevie to do something stupid in the pairing with Phil and I know CBS will show Todd Hamilton about the same amount tomorrow that they did today (twice). Your thoughts so far?